About Improv Planet

  • At Improv Planet we study the pathways of musicianship that led to the remarkable fluency of spontaneous invention among 18th and 19th century musicians. We learn to improvise music in historic styles.

  • Improv Planet’s members come from every inhabited continent and include seasoned concert artists, conservatory faculty and students, members of international orchestras, private piano teachers, avid amateurs, retired hobbyists, young people, and more.

  • Improv Planet offers instruction in two different formats: by monthly membership, and by single “stand-alone” classes.

  • The stand-alone classes cover specific topics in depth, and involve about the same amount of work as a one-semester college-level course.

  • Monthly memberships provide access to the world’s largest library of tutorial videos in historic improvisation. And this collection is constantly growing: each month we put out two to three hours of new video: tutorials, live performance of improvisations, Q&A, and the fun, engaging Improv Challenge.

  • Monthly memberships are available on three levels: Amateur, Pro, and Access.

  • The Amateur level requires modest keyboard skills and introductory knowledge of music theory, but still provides instruction in improvising real music using real techniques. Each month Amateur includes two new tutorials, two performance videos (improvisations, usually from live concerts), the Ask Me Anything Q&A, and the Improv Challenge.

  • The Pro level is for professional performers, conservatory faculty and students, and those ready for rigorous engagement with the theoretical and performance ideas that lie behind improvisation. Pro includes all content from Amateur as well as two additional tutorials and a monthly “breakdown” video, giving an inside-the-workshop look at specific improvised performances.

  • The Access level includes all the above, with access to all new content one week before the official release date.

Options for Improvisers

Improvisers may take a "stand-alone" course or subscribe as monthly members. Membership is available at three levels: Amateur, Pro, and Access.

  • NEW! “19th Century Preluding” reveals the Romantic-era art of performing improvised introductions to written piano compositions, and prepares the learner to bring this capability to the stage. Course instructor John Mortensen is internationally recognized as a concert improviser and teacher. The lessons begin by closely examining original sources including Czerny, Kollmann, Corri, Hummel, and Clara Schumann. Then the learner is invited into Mortensen’s “workshop” to watch his process as he develops preludes on familiar and unknown works from the repertoire. At the conclusion of the course, each student may submit a video performance of preluding and receive personal written commentary from Dr. Mortensen.

  • The Introduction to Historic Improvisation course consists of 25 lessons (over seven hours of instruction) introducing the basics of historic improvisation. The course was designed as college-level and will require many hours of practice. The intro course has a one-time cost, not a recurring monthly membership fee.

  • The Amateur level includes two new amateur tutorials, two new performance videos, a new Ask Me Anything, and a new Improv Challenge every month PLUS instant access to all previous videos in these categories (over 150). Also included: access to the Improv Planet Discussion Forum, updates on Dr. Mortensen's books, recordings, touring, and masterclasses.

  • The Pro level includes everything from the Amateur level PLUS two new Pro tutorials every month, the monthly "How I Did It" Improv Breakdown, and instant access to all previous videos in these categories (over 250).

  • The Access level includes everything from the Amateur and Pro levels, plus early access to all content one week prior to its regular publication.

Student Reviews

5 star rating

Historic Improvisation

Christoph Mutter

Exzellent Staff and brillant Teaching. No doubt a milestone in music education to forget the tyranny of playing the repertoire again and again and loose joy ...

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Exzellent Staff and brillant Teaching. No doubt a milestone in music education to forget the tyranny of playing the repertoire again and again and loose joy on classical music.

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John Mortensen

Dr. John Mortensen is a leader in the international revival of historic keyboard improvisation. Appearing frequently as concert artist, masterclass teacher, and academic lecturer in America and Europe, he is noted for his ability to improvise entire concerts. He is the author of "The Pianist's Guide to Historic Improvisation" (Oxford University Press), the world's best-selling book in the field of historic keyboard improvisation studies. His new book "Improvising Fugue" will be published in 2022 with Oxford University Press. A Steinway Artist and university music professor, he is sponsored by the US State Department's Fulbright Global Scholar program as an artistic ambassador on behalf of the American people.

Improvising in Concert

Royal Academy of Music - Aarhus, Denmark